Own business: hand-made postcards

* The calculations use the average data for the World

A handmade postcard is more valuable than its analogue printed on a printing press. Moreover, the fantasy of craftsmen knows no bounds. They decorate postcards with coconut fiber and bamboo and cork wood and gold, and even sweets and bagels.

hand-made postcards: the essence of business

As a rule, postcards can be divided into two categories: postcards with a small amount of manual work and postcards of a complicated category. If the first few can be stamped in a few hundred a day, then making the latter is more time-consuming: one master can make from 30 to 70 such cards every day.

Given that six to 25 craftsmen work in one company, a client’s order to produce, say, thousands of handmade cards can be completed from three to 10 days. In addition to masters with a predominantly artistic education, designers work on postcards - usually no more than four.

The main problem of this business is to find a good specialist for a small salary. On the one hand, an employee must have the ability to create, and on the other hand, perseverance and the ability to perform, in a sense, monotonous operations are required. Such qualities rarely get along in one person. And few agree to work for a penny. Today on the European market a handmade card costs about EUR5, then in Ukrainian retail - about 15 UAH. Such a difference in price is precisely explained mainly by the level of wages.

Materials for the manufacture of postcards are used very different: fabrics, plastic, paper, beads, buttons, oilcloth, paints ... All this is bought mainly in hardware stores or directly from suppliers who bring materials from abroad.

To the honor of Ukrainian manufacturers of hand-made postcards, domestic products are not inferior in quality to foreign ones, and sometimes even surpass them. Ukrainian manufacturers are constantly taking orders from the USA, Canada, Israel and Russia.

hand-made postcards: distribution channels

The sales problem in this business is considered one of the main. The fact is that mainly manufacturers sell their products through bookstores and gift shops, such as DC, Multi, and Letter. But there are very few such networks in Ukraine, and getting through there with postcards, according to the manufacturers, is quite difficult.

The most promising sales channel for Ukrainian manufacturers of handmade postcards remains custom-made products. In the structure of seasonal sales, the share of corporate orders is at least 50%. It is worth noting that manufacturers of custom-made postcards do not lack corporate clients.

First of all, they become banks and other financial institutions, automobile corporations, large international companies - in short, those organizations that care about their own image and can afford to spend money and time on ordering original cards to pamper their employees, customers or partners non-standard memorable congratulations.

hand-made postcards: Profitability

Participants estimate the minimum threshold for entering a business at $ 8-10 thousand. This amount is enough to hire craftsmen and designers, purchase paper and materials and start working. According to the entrepreneurs of this business, entering it is not difficult, but only for those who are passionate about their business, who want to create beauty in addition to money, everything should be amazing: paper, text, drawing, layout, layout, font combinations ... If this no, here you can lose more than earn.

For the same reason, card makers do not spend money on advertising. After all, a beautiful and original postcard is an advertisement in itself. The only way to promote such companies is to participate in specialized exhibitions, both in domestic and foreign ones.

Promising are not only postcards, but in general the market of gifts and souvenirs, its profitability is from 20% and above. And if you do not pay taxes and produce cards in small batches at home, then the profitability, of course, increases several times and even reaches 100%.

According to experts, over time, the structure of sales of cards will change. In Europe, for example, everyday postcards occupy no less than 60% of the total sales volume, while in our country - no more than 40%. They give or send postcards not only for Christmas, birthday and wedding, but also, for example, for Easter, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, housewarming, childbirth, as well as loving, parting, apologizing, visiting patients or simply, to cheer up a person. With us, all this is still only in perspective, but according to the observations of market participants themselves, this prospect is not so far.

Another sales channel is large supermarkets. But there are some nuances here: it has traditionally been the case that large trading formats were “occupied” by their products by foreign manufacturers, in particular, the Open Letter company, the Russian “monster” of the postcard business. Therefore, the share of sales through supermarkets in the sales structure is very small.

• Market size: 11-13 million UAH.

• The pace of development: 20-30% per year

• Number of players: 4 large companies, a dozen teams of artisans

• Profitability: from 20%

• Prices: 12-30 UAH.

Based on an article by Olga Buryan in the journal Power of Money